Week of December 26

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We used the word “claim” in the headline instead of words like “think” or “believe” because, frankly, it’s really hard to find anyone not being compensated by the oil and gas industry who honestly believes that delaying fracking in populated areas while more research and testing on its health and environmental impacts is done is a bad idea. The exception is those nut jobs who think that questioning any action of a corporation makes you a Marxist.

Let’s recap just a little of what we Commies have learned about fracking and oil and gas shale production while the drilling rigs have been paused by our local bans and moratoriums.

We now have a study out of the University of Colorado that found that if you live within a half-mile of a production platform your chances of getting cancer increase significantly. Our own government researchers here in Boulder (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have found that oil and gas wells and production facilities are responsible for much of the ground level ozone in the area, ozone that is bad for everyone but poses a severe health risk for asthmatics and others with respiratory illnesses.

We have research that shows that gas from as deep as 12,000 feet can find its way into our shallow groundwater after a 50- to 100-year upward migration. That means that the 20 percent to 40 percent of fracking fluid that is unrecoverable after each well is fracked likely has the same chance to make it into our water supplies at approximately the same pace. Sucks to be you, future generations.

And most recently, a new study out of the University of Missouri found that it’s likely that fracking and other oil and gas activity, like spills, are putting hormone-disrupting chemicals into our surface and groundwater supplies, including the Colorado River that serves as a drinking water supply to tens of millions of Americans.

No wonder the industry wants to drill everything now before the rest of the research comes in. Just imagine what other dreadful discoveries we will be making regarding fracking and oil and gas shale development in the next few years.

We’re afraid it’s just going to get harder and harder for all those industry PR hacks to sleep at night. Perhaps someone should research that.


This holiday season, when you’re lying around the house, engorged from your feasting and drinking, looking for something to do, why not hop online and sign the petition challenging the constitutionality of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission?

Yes, this is that state board that is charged with simultaneously policing and promoting the oil and gas industry. Too often, it neglects the former.

So Carl L. McWilliams has launched a petition that reads: “The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) statutes illegally altered the Colorado Constitution @ ART. V, Sec. 35, ART. XX, Sec. 6 without the ‘consent of the governed.’ Therefore, Gov. Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly have violated their constitutional oaths and must convene a special Constitutional Convention to remedy the unconstitutional Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission statutes.”

The petition, which has garnered more than 400 signatures, is available at

In his invitation to sign the petition, McWilliams cites the fact that Gov. John Hickenlooper has sued the city of Longmont over its fracking ban and has threatened to sue other municipalities that follow Longmont’s path.

“Gov. Hickenlooper is guilty of the acts and omissions of ‘Constitutional Torts’ and must be made to answer to We the People of Colorado, (the Sovereign), in Federal District Court in Denver,” McWilliams writes.

A bit Tea Party-ish, don’t you think? Maybe the two ends of the political spectrum have more in common than they think. After all, the Occupy movement originally counted Tea Partiers among its supporters.

On the fracking issue, as with so many others, we have to agree that local control by the citizenry is better than a heavy-handed, big-government approach.